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The NPS Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial on Lake Erie

Located on an Island in Lake Erie is an intriguing historical destination. The U.S. National Park Service operates Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial on South Bass Island in Lake Erie, a short ferry ride from the docks at Port Clinton. The island community is known as Put In Bay. The memorial itself has a twofold purpose. The first is to honor Oliver Hazard Perry's victory over the British fleet during the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. The second portion of the site celebrates the continued state of Peace existing between the United States, Canada, and Great Britain since the end of the War of 1812. An NPS website explains that the Peace Memorial is a mere five miles from the longest unprotected border in the world.

The Memorial stands an amazing 352 feet above the ground. It is the third tallest memorial in the country: Only the Washington Monument and the St. Louis Arch are taller. The open air observation deck allows visitors to see not only the islands of Ohio, but also the shorelines of Michigan and the Canadian Provence of Ontario. The monument is the tallest Doric column in the world. Unfortunately the memorial was under renovation when we visited and the observation deck was closed to the public.

The visitor's center highlights Perry's victory over the British Fleet in Lake Erie. Perry's courageous tactics are clearly explained with maps, dioramas and a short 20 minute film. Period military arms are displayed in the center along with remarkable models of the ships of both fleets. Perry's victory in 1812 was the only time a complete British Fleet was captured intact.

The day we visited the site there were two Park employees dressed in the authentic uniforms of 1812 US Marines. They had a small bivouac tent erected, and the fire was burning for the period rations being prepared. Our timing was great, as the men soon presented a fascinating living history interpretation of the life of a Marine in 1812. This included the demonstration of the loading and firing of the 1809 Springfield smooth bore .69 caliber musket.

To get to Put In Bay you ride the Miller Boat Line Ferry. The ferry runs every half hour during the day. Once on the island a variety of transportation is available if you choose to leave your car behind in one of the free parking lots. We left our vehicle and RV on the mainland side and took one of the buses from the island dock. The bus stop in town was conveniently located across the street from the Perry Memorial. Put In Bay is a very popular destination for both the locals and tourists. There are many things to do on the island, including eateries and shopping and several marinas for boating.